the snack Program provides children
with a healthy afterschool snack.
PHo To: TAn YA BALE TA
St. Paul’s Bloor Street,
Over the last few decades, when St. Paul’s Bloor Street’s community was changing in Toronto’s city core, the con- gregation felt forced to transform or flee the neighbour-
hood. They chose to ask a challenging question: “Lord, what
shall we transform into?”
The Rev. Canon Dr. Barry Parker arrived 15 years ago from
Edmonton to be rector of this Anglican parish. From the front
door of the church’s 170-year-old neo-gothic building, he can see
residences of the wealthy, the most densely populated immigrant
community in the city, two universities, Toronto’s growing gay vil-
lage, expensive retail stores and many new condo developments.
The diverse parish has no shortage of opportunities to live
out Parker’s belief that “a transformative community links the
gospel and social justice.”
Helping Parker lead the parish is David Kirk McCleary, a
Tyndale Seminary graduate with a Baptist background who “in-
tentionally came to St. Paul’s as an outreach intern to learn how
to be a follower of Christ in a different tradition.” Over the last
two years there, McCleary has found that “God confronted all
of my biases, including those I never knew I had.”
McCleary loves the fact St. Paul’s has a long and storied his-
tory of showing love for God and others. St. Paul’s parishioners
remind each other that every follower of Jesus is on mission with
God – at home, work, even in the supermarket.
One of the church’s attractional-missional initiatives is a weekly
after-school snack program for children in Grades 2 to 6, in partnership with the Toronto City Mission. Twenty parish volunteers,
including retirees and young adults, rotate on teams, affording
a platform for faith to be heard while providing a healthy snack
and a safe place to play.
As volunteers get to know the children, the feeding program
becomes incidental and building relationships becomes the
focus. Healthy snacks are prepared together and kids comment
on the taste of real cheddar cheese.